The Trump administration announced a major change in immigration processing, indicating that they will no longer release on U.S. soil family units that entered the country illegally.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Monday during his Washington speech that ending the practice of “catch and release” is part of the Trump Administration’s “strategy to mitigate loopholes that act as a ‘pull factor.’”
“With some humanitarian and medical exceptions, DHS will no longer be releasing family units from Border Patrol Stations into the interior,” said Acting Secretary McAleenan.
In this way, all detained illegal immigrants will be “quickly” returned to their country of origin as long as they do not claim to be afraid to return, in which case “they will generally be returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols,” where they will wait while their files are processed.
“This approach also serves as a transition to full implementation of the Flores final rule, which will further allow DHS to hold families together through fair and expeditious immigration proceedings,” he added, according to the statement issued by DHS.
“This is a vital step in restoring the rule of law and integrity to our immigration system,” McAleenan said, specifying that the policy will be implemented next week.
“You have a program, catch and release: you catch them and then you have to release them. And they’re supposed to come back to court in the next three, four, five, six years, and nobody shows up,” said President Donald Trump at a rally earlier this month, according to The Hill.
‘Operational and strategic partnerships in the region’
McAleenan also emphasized that to reduce the flow of illegal immigration they work “to develop operational and strategic partnerships in the region based on shared responsibility for the migration crisis” primarily with Mexico, and to a lesser extent with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
DHS’s approach would be to address the root causes of migration from the “security, economic and governance perspectives” of the very countries with which it works to combat the crisis.
Changes made to the processes in the last three months have enabled an increase in prosecutions of human traffickers to the highest level in the region’s history.
“Migration crises cannot be addressed by any destination country on its own,” but must generate a sense of shared responsibility and build mechanisms at the regional level to make it “sustainable,” McAleenan said.